Systematics and phylogenetic species delimitation within Polinices s.l. (Caenogastropoda: Naticidae) based on molecular data and shell morphology
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Here, we present the first phylogenetic analysis of a group of species taxonomically assigned to Polinices sensu latu (Naticidae, Gastropoda) based on molecular data sets. Polinices s.l. represents a speciose group of the infaunal gastropod family Naticidae, including species that have often been assigned to subgenera of Polinices [e.g. P. (Neverita), P. (Euspira), P. (Conuber) and P. (Mammilla)] based on conchological data. The results of our molecular phylogenetic analysis confirm the validity of five genera, Conuber, Polinices, Mammilla, Euspira and Neverita, including four that have been used previously mainly as subgenera of Polinices s.l. Our results furthermore indicate a close relationship of members of the Polinicinae to Sinum—a genus traditionally placed in the naticid subfamily Sininae. We furthermore present conchological analyses to determine the validity of shell characters used traditionally in species designation in the genus Polinices. Our data reveal several characters (e.g. protoconch, operculum colour, parietal callus) to be informative, while many characters show a high degree of homoplasy (e.g. umbilicus, shell form). Among the species arranged in the genus Polinices s.s., four conchologically very similar taxa often subsumed under the common Indo-Pacific species P. mammilla are separated distinctly in phylogenetic analyses. Despite their striking conchological similarities, none of these four taxa are related directly to each other. Additional conchological analyses of available name-bearing type specimens and type figures reveal the four “mammilla”-like white Polinices species to include true P. mammilla and three additional species, which could be assigned to P. constanti (replacement name for P. dubius), P. jukesii and possibly P. tawhitirahia, based on protoconch and operculum characteristics.